Peer Review of Evaluation Functions in Ireland, Switzerland and Finland

Ireland, Switzerland and Finland had a peer review of their evaluation functions as is encouraged by the OECD-DAC Network on Development Evaluation (EvalNET). The advantage of combining the peer reviews was that it allowed not only findings, conclusions, and recommendations related to each of them, but also cross-agency learning. The UNEG (UN Evaluation Groupin) norms, independence, credibility and utility, guided the peer review.

The peer review assessed evaluation policies and functions, planning and implementation of evaluations, implementation of recommendations as well as management and resources of evaluation units. The review was carried out by the heads of four evaluation units, with teams of two acting as peers for the third; a consultant served on all of the three teams. The peer review process was highly participatory with wider consultations and smaller workshops. The review consists of four reports: one general report of all evaluation units and three evaluation unit specific reports.

The peer review was useful both for learning and for the development of evaluation function. Regarding the evaluation function in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the peer review found that evaluation culture is good and evaluations are of high quality, useful and meet the international norms and standards for evaluations. The quality of centralized, strategic level evaluations is good but decentralized, project-level evaluations need further improvements by enhancing the commitment of departments and units to evaluation work. This could be ensured by having sufficient human resources for planning and implementation of evaluations and for follow-up of evaluation results. The review praised the evaluation help desk services provided to the regional units by the Development Evaluation Unit and the consultative process to prepare the annual evaluation plan.

The peer review recommended to enhance the utility and usefulness of evaluations by specifying more clearly the purpose, objectives and evaluation questions and by focusing evaluations more precisely. The Development Evaluation unit could also diversify its portfolio of evaluation products, e.g. reviews, self-assessments and ex-ante evaluations.

Peer Review Reports

Peer Review of Four Evaluation Functions (Opens New Window) (PDF, 70 pages, 2.0 MB)

Peer Review of Four Evaluation Functions – Extract for Finland (Opens New Window) (PDF, 32 pages, 1.1 MB)